Monthly Archives: October 2016

October 18,2016 Another long night

My Love,

I had some nice things written down that I was going to share, but yesterday was some kind of awful and I feel compelled to share, or vent. I hope you don’t mind if it turns out to be more of the latter.  I suppose there is no rule saying these letters have to be chronological, I can always finish up what I had started later.

The only good thing about yesterday is that it is over. I didn’t start great, Mommy was feeling particularly discouraged. She’s always upset in the mornings, but some days are far worse than others.  I’ve learned to accept, and even expect that, but it doesn’t make it any less disheartening.  It wears on me, she knows that, but she must grieve as she must.

I made it out the door to work, but left my phone on the couch. That left me alone with my thoughts both to & from work. I’ve yet to turn the radio on when I’m alone in the car. All I can think about is riding around with you, flipping through the music stations, asking: “Keep it, Change it or Turn it up?”

Keep it! And Turn. It. Up!” you’d say with a lighthearted and playful attitude. You love music. Some of my fondest memories with you involve music…dancing, singing, loving life. How the tides have turned.

Work was uneventful, a decent distraction.

When I got home, I noticed our screened in area of the deck had been overtaken by ladybugs, stinkbugs and a handful of wasps. I got some spray to take out the wasps because we like to leave the door cracked for Bella…She likes sitting outside, often in your chair.  I thought you might like this picture…

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Anyways…I sprayed the wasps off the screen but Bella caught on and was going to try and pounce on one. Without hesitation I dashed over to grab her before she got a face full of angry wasp. She’s mostly blind, I’m not sure I’ve mentioned that to you yet…go figure, so I don’t even know if she knew what she was about to play with. Well, I got her in time, but managed to crack my foot on something. The chair I guess. Before I could put her down, I was grunting words I really try my best not to use anymore.

I sat on the couch with a bag of frozen cranberries resting on top of foot when this overwhelming sense of disappointment and shame overtook me. My head sunk lower and lower…my eyes began to swell. Why wasn’t I given an opportunity to give my life for yours?  I wouldn’t have hesitated.  I wouldn’t have hesitated!!!  Instead I had to be there, but not… there!   I’m not going to write about this again for fear it will drag me to a place I’ll never escape.

Somehow, I managed to pull myself up and out of that. I kind of zoned out the rest of the evening, but when it came time to go to sleep my mind wouldn’t turn off. 11 turned to 12, to 1.  By 1:30 or so, I was sitting on the couch in the dark. What to do…I pulled out my phone.

It may as well been a sword.

I wanted to see you. To remember… Picture after picture. Blow after blow I took.  I must have went through a hundred of them.

I went to videos after that.  I wanted to hear your voice. Every word, every smile dealt another blow.  I must have gone through twenty of them.

Why? I knew what I was in for. I couldn’t help it I guess. It had been too long… it HAS been too long…

So, there I lay. Out of breathe, my eyes on fire, my chest bruised, my in stomach twisted in knots.  It felt like someone had beaten me to within an inch of my life. I seriously doubted God’s love.  I felt abandoned. Alone. Confused.

I drifted off to sleep.

This morning, I sat downstairs, drank my coffee and before I knew it, I was writing this out. Now, I hope I don’t say anything to crazy, I did have a pretty rough night and three and a half hours of sleep doesn’t really make for clear thinking.  This is what I wrote…

I can’t help but feel, in some strange way, closer to God this morning. Like I have somehow shared in His pain. I mean that in the most reverent and respectful way. I’m not trying to appear “godly”, nor am I trying to compare myself to God.  I know where I stand there, and that is not at all.  But, shared, in the sense that I’m more respectful…more aware.  

I guess my point is, “…he gave…”

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” ( John 3:16 )

How many times have I spoken those words with blissful ignorance? Without regard to everything that went with along with the giving. Dare I say them now without reflecting on my own suffering and loss?

Strange how that was the first thing I thought about this morning.  Less than four hours ago I was doubting if God even loved me.

I believe Jesus wept with me last night. There was nothing to be done, no comfort that really could have been given in that moment.

I miss you Clara.

Until that day…

Love,

Daddy

 

 

 

Clara Phillips Luke Phillips Katy Phillips
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Oct 5,2016 A bitter taste

Hello My Love,

I noticed last week that I haven’t been writing in my journal as much. I’m not sure why, I always feel a little bit closer to you when I’m writing. I never really run out of things to write either. But these last few weeks have been different. I’ve been more discouraged, about everything, than I’ve ever been in my life.  There was even a time when I thought, “What’s the point of writing?! It’s not like I’ll be able to…”.  I’m sorry, that was hard for me to even write, but that last bit truly reflects the conflict within me. The negative thoughts, the doubts, they are not sought out, they are thrown like fiery spears at anything I seem to find comforting.

The grief is not getting any easier either.

Last week, after a tough ride home, I got out of the car and started towards the house.  I got a few steps from the car and just stopped.  I looked at the wet driveway, the soaked grass, the grey and cloudy skies. I could feel the cool drizzle that was being carried around by the breeze on my face. What a crazy day to play basketball, right? The weather, it was exactly like the day we decided to play basketball in the driveway last fall. It felt as if that memory was playing on some projector and I walked right into it and froze. I drank in every detail of that memory, but it had a bitter taste.

At times, I find my mind flooded with memories and thoughts of you, but my attempts to remember YOU in every perfect detail are becoming more difficult as time passes. I hope for the day when all of these pictures and videos of you will help me remember those details and remind me of all the joy you have brought to my life. Right now, unfortunately, they are far too painful…

I feel as if we are worlds apart. Life with you –the memory of it- feels like a wonderful dream I have been woken up from. I desperately want to return… How long will this last? How long must I suffer memories in place of a loving embrace?

The path of sorrow, and that path alone
Leads to the land where sorrow is unknown:
No traveller ever reached that blessed abode,
Who found not thorns and briers in his road.

-William Cowper

I thought about this quote a lot over the last few days.  Why is “suffering” necessary? Maybe “necessary” is the wrong way to look at it, maybe “inevitable” is more accurate.  CS Lewis puts it this way: “Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself”

Or, even better, in the words of our gracious Savior: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 my emphasis added)  There is no misunderstanding that. But why this way? Why me? Why you? I don’t know, maybe I never will. Anyways, the “whys” are as unfruitful now as they were eight months ago and they’ll always be that way.

Or, maybe “necessary” is the right way of looking at it? I wonder if I would have ever been able to truly appreciate what was done at the Cross had I never experienced any kind of suffering in my own life. Would something good have ever caused me to seek out the LORD so earnestly? If I lived a pain free life, would I ever be brought to my knees and cry out, “LORD, Please have mercy on me!”  Could I have really been saved before I fully understood what it was to NEED saving?

To an extent, I suppose those questions are similar to the “why” questions.  This did happen. I am suffering. I’ll continue to suffer. I do understand that I have “been bought with a price”. I am in desperate need of a savior. I have earnestly sought after the LORD for the last eight months and I know this verse to be true: “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

And even having said all that, Clare-Bear, I still don’t know how I’m going to get through all this. The grief is just plain overpowering at times. And the holidays are coming up…I don’t even want to think about that, but it is inevitable. I guess I’ll just keep doing what I can.  Mommy and I did manage to get a crib together for your sister’s room and our friend got us a pretty lamp for the nursery. I’m surprised we’ve gotten that far. Sissy’s been pretty busy with Theater, SAT’s, ACT’s, school trips…you name it. I hope you get an opportunity to watch over her, I don’t get to see her as much during these busy times.

I found this poem by William Cowper while looking for the above quote. I also found, and read through a short biography.  It’s a remarkably sad story, but his suffering came to an end. So will mine.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan his work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

-William Cowper

With all my love,

Daddy

Luke Phillips Katy Phillips Clara Phillips